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PHOENIX (CBS5) -
Twenty-one members of the Arizona Air National Guard are set to be arraigned on criminal charges of defrauding the U.S. government of more than $1.4 million.
Eight officers and 13 enlisted men and women are accused of falsifying records to fraudulently receive extra pay between November 2007 and September 2010. All of the accused served in the 214th Reconnaissance Group of the Arizona Air National Guard.
The indictments culminated an 18-month investigation by state and federal agencies, according to Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne.
"We all have reverence for our military personnel who defend our freedom," said Horne. "But in any group, no matter how good the group is, you are going to have a small percentage that will be dishonest."
Horne said the 21 Guardsmen are accused of falsifying their records and using fake home addresses in order to receive money meant for those traveling outside of their home regions on temporary duty.
He said most of the defendants took home more than $100,000 by fraudulently claiming to live outside Tucson.
Horne said Col. Gregg Davies, the former commander of the 214th RG, is alleged to have provided assistance to 20 co-defendants, using his position of authority to circumvent measures that were supposed to prevent unauthorized temporary duty entitlements when military members are neither deployed nor away for training from their home.
The Arizona Attorney General's Office, the FBI, the U.S. Air Force, the Arizona National Guard and the Air National Guard participated in the investigation.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Mike Jette, according to Horne's office.
"We fully support the legal process," said Brigadier General Michael McGuire, with the Arizona Air National Guard. "Because this is an ongoing investigation, I'm unable to discuss specifics surrounding the case, but I assure you we take these allegations very seriously."
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